Five Things to be Thankful For

It's a popular event on Thanksgiving to talk about what you're thankful for. Here are five Texas football- and basketball-related items to appreciate this Thanksgiving.

1) A senior class to be proud of. The Longhorn football squad boasts Sam Acho, who combines All-American effort level with All-American ability. That ability extends to off the field as well, as Acho is up for seemingly every academic, community service and all around good guy awards that are out there. In basketball, you have leaders like Gary Johnson and Dogus Balbay. Johnson is the most high-energy post guy you'll find, and uses that effort as a building block for his leadership. Balbay gives everything he has and is one of the top "intangibles" players you'll ever find. And those are just the spectacular ones. Both sports have several other seniors worthy of celebrating.

2) Jordan Hamilton's smooth scoring. At this point, everybody knows that Hamilton, who is averaging 24.6 points per game, is scoring at an extremely high level. But most people don't realize just how high that level is. Hamilton is using 31.9 percent of Texas's offensive possessions, slightly more than Kevin Durant in 06-07 (31.6), but Hamilton has also put up a better offensive efficiency number, 124.7 to 116.5. Sure, it's early, and Hamilton is sure to be battered a bit in the middle of the season, but that's still a great start. He's only been held under 25 points once, a "low" 19-point effort against Louisiana Tech. When combined with his rebounding numbers, it isn't a stretch to say that Hamilton is playing at an All-America level.

3) A stellar football recruiting class. Texas's football class of 2011 is arguably the best in the country, and it might not be finished yet. The Longhorns sit well with Jermauria Rasco, another Scout five-star player. And the players already signed fill a major need, from a stellar six-lineman class to the signing of bruising running back Malcolm Brown and slick slot receiver Jaxon Shipley. Desmond Jackson, one of the country's top defensive tackles, should also help, as should linebacker and defensive back help.

4) A stellar basketball recruiting class. The basketball class is potentially one of the top five in the country, and like the football grouping, is likely not complete yet. The Longhorns are set to lose Dogus Balbay and Jai Lucas at point guard, so the staff went out and signed Myck Kabongo, one of the top point guards in the class. They also face the likely departure of Jordan Hamilton on the wing and grabbed two great ones in silky scorer Sheldon McClellan and deadeye shooter Julien Lewis. Last, but not least, the Longhorns needed to grab another big, and did well to steal Jonathan Holmes from Texas A&M. Holmes is a versatile athlete with length who can do a lot of things. The Longhorn staff would like to grab another post player, and are still in on former commitment DeAndre Daniels, who can play both on the wing and as an athletic four.

5) There's always next year for football. There isn't any doubt that the Longhorn season this year caught many by surprise. But it was kind of the perfect storm of a few recruiting misses, a cavalcade of injuries and inexperience at key positions. But most close to the program believe that the most talented players on the roster are the younger ones, and many of those players have built experience this season. The line, which should be high on both talent and experience next year, should be better, as should quarterback Garrett Gilbert. Add in talented receivers like Mike Davis and Darius White getting snaps, and the offense should be much improved. Defensively, just four players of the 19 listed on Texas's two deep for the Texas A&M game are seniors. Figuring that Aaron Williams jumps pro, the Longhorns are still deep on experience and bring back explosive forces like Keenan Robinson and Kenny Vaccaro. In addition, young players with promise, like Jackson Jeffcoat, Adrian Phillips and Carrington Byndom, will start plugging in. That's a long way to say that the future seems bright.


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